The Country vs. the City in Gustave Flaubert's "Sentimental Education" Analytical Essay by NCHist

The Country vs. the City in Gustave Flaubert's "Sentimental Education"
An analysis of the contrast between the country and the city in Gustave Flaubert's "Sentimental Education", a masterpiece of 19th century French literature.
# 153515 | 991 words | 0 sources | 2004 | US
Published on Jun 08, 2013 in Literature (French)

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The paper relates that in his novel, "Sentimental Education", Gustave Flaubert elegantly captures the zeitgeist of bourgeois Paris during the revolution of 1848 and centers around the life of young student, Frederic Moreau. The paper focuses on one of the principal themes of this work that is the contrast between Paris and the provinces, especially Frederic's hometown of Nogent-Sur-Seine, and analyzes how these contrasts are highlighted through the themes of love, politics, money and art.

From the Paper:

"The theme of love in itself is at the heart of the novel. Frederic is infatuated with Marie Arnoux, wife of businessman and entrepreneur Monsieur Arnoux. Throughout the book however, Frederic impulsively falls in and out of love with three other characters. Views on love differ between the countryside and the city. Frederic's mother Madame Moreau, who lives in Nogent tends to look at love in an unromantic fashion. Especially towards the end of the novel she pushes her son towards marriage believing that this will grant Frederic some stability regardless if it is with Louise Rouche or Madame Dambreuse. The provincial view of love appears to also be more conservative and traditional. Madame Moreau "refuses to have anything to do" (19) with Monsieur Roque due to the fact that he is "living in sin" with his maid who provides him with his daughter. Frederic obviously recognizes these provincial attitudes considering that he hides his activities with women from his mother and does not confide in her his obsession with Madame Arnoux. In contrast, love in Paris is less restricted, erratic, and somehow passionate and businesslike at the same time. This is especially symbolized in Frederic's relationship with Madame Dambreuse and Rose Bron."

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